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Watchtowers along the coast (Formentera )

Formentera is the fourth island of the Balearic archipelago in area, 82 km2, and, together with the neighbouring island of Ibiza, makes up the Pitiusa Islands. It is located between latitude 38º 40' and 38º 49' north and between longitude lº l7' and lº 28' east . It is separated from the island of Ibiza by a narrow channel of 3.6 km. The distance between the ports of Ibiza and Formentera is 11 nautical miles. The shape of Formentera stretches out from east to west with an extension on the west side, the Cap de Barbaria, that extends southward and with the points of Sa Pedrera and Borronar that extend northward.

There are a total of five watchtowers along the coast of Formentera. The first watchtower to be built was on the island of Espalmador and it was followed by the watchtowers of Punta Prima, La Gavina, Cap de Barbaria, and Es Pi d´es Català.

The purpose of the watchtowers was to defend the island against attacks from the sea. Each watchtower could see another watchtower so that when a watchman sighted a suspicious boat, he could warn the others.

In all the watchtowers there were arms, canons, and other pieces of artillery. Usually, the method used to warn the population of a possible pirate attack was to light bonfires on top of the watchtower. The smoke gave the warning to the next watchtower, which lit a bonfire to warn the next watchtower, and so on, until all the population had been warned.

Over the years the condition of the watchtowers has deteriorated but they are still very impressive. In addition, some of them (the one on Espalmador, for example) have been restored or will be in the future.

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